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Former Iraq administrator sees decades-long U.S. military presence

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the former interim administrator of post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Iraq, said Thursday that a U.S. military presence in Iraq should last “the next few decades,” but questioned the mix of forces already there and current plans to reconfigure the armed forces as a whole.

Echoing concerns raised by lawmakers at this week’s defense budget hearings, Garner said in an interview with National Journal Group reporters and editors that the size of the Army and Marine Corps should be increased by enlarging the infantry or ground forces. And he warned that the current strain on National Guard and Reserve forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan could cripple efforts to retain experienced soldiers.

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